Going with the Flow

I’ve always admired people who accept change easily. Because life is always moving forward. Change is inevitable. And, like jumping, or even falling, the landing’s easier if you bend your knees, give into it.

And how to accept change gracefully?

First of all, there’s no rush.

Sometimes I make ambitious to-do lists. Full of aspirational goals. Then I do none of them. And feel lame.

Aspire. Dream big. But also remember, in the words of the poet Mary Oliver:

“Things take the time they take. Don’t / worry. / How many roads did Saint Augustine follow / before he became Saint Augustine?”

“Nudge” yourself, as Amy Cuddy, the author of Presence, suggests—little steps in place of big ones. And little step-by-step, before too long, you’ll see things from a different view.

And second, take it easy on yourself.

You’re doing just fine. Better than fine! You’re doing the best you can right now.

In fact, given the unique combination of challenges and blessings in your life at this moment, you’re doing beautifully.

We all have a one-of-a-kind life, with its ups and down. And I’ve found it’s pretty pointless to compare your journey to another’s. Either you beat yourself up—“What’s my problem? I have it easy compared to her, so why don’t I feel happier?” Or you feel downhearted because your path seems like the much harder one. And it’s true, some people face bigger challenges than others.

But most of the time, it’s less about what we face, and more about how we face it.

Who we give our attention to. What words, messages, mantras, we let sink into our minds, making a home there. And which ones we choose to fling off, shed, not believe anymore.

Are you holding onto words of worry and fear? They’re taking up valuable space. And for what? Let them go! Toss them out the front door.

Invite inspiring, encouraging words to make themselves at-home in your thoughts instead. And pretty soon, you’ll start to embody them.

Clutter in our physical space is one thing. But the stuff in our mind is way more powerful. I wish I’d learned this sooner, but I’m so glad I know it now. Because it gives you the option to declutter your mind, to give it a “spring cleaning”, in ways that are truly life-changing. And while that doesn’t guarantee a perfect looking life, it will carry you a lot closer to a perfect feeling life.

Because when you clear out the clutter—fear, worry, judgment, other feelings that drag you down—you make more room for love. And once you start feeling the love—for yourself, your life, friends, strangers, the world—it’s easy to keep going.

The heart is expansive, bigger than you can imagine, capable of holding as much love as you want to full it with. And then some.

Or as Oliver writes: “Said the river: imagine everything you can imagine, then keep on going.”

We can’t always see where that meandering river of life will carry us—what beautiful sights we’ll see along the way, what changes we’ll be asked to accept gracefully—but we can always choose to go with the flow, traveling with an easy spirit and a heart full of love.